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Thinking of Building a RAID 0 Array From Three or Four 480 GB SSDs - Your Thoughts?

    General discussion

  • At the moment on my Dell Precision workstation I have a 2 TB C: partition made from two spinning Western Digital RE4 1 TB drives.  Performance is quite good, but there are some big operations on this powerful system that I find are still limited by drive throughput. 

    Specifically, things like Visual Studio-based software builds, which access many, many different files (not to mention write a lot of files) seem to be limited not so much by throughput as by the fact that so much head seeking has to take place to get the jobs done.  And yes, my drives are defragged (automatically by Windows).  Another drive-limited operation is my occasional use of Photoshop for graphics-intensive work on very large files, and still another is VMware virtual machine operation.

    My current WD RE4 (spinning) drives have big RAM caches (which of course add together in RAID arrangement), but that's not nearly enough.

    I have used about 800 GB of space on drive C: so far in 2+ years of hard Windows 7 use, so I may not need a full 2 TB capacity.  I use D: (another large spinning drive) for storage of data that doesn't need super high speed access.

    To increase throughput on this system, I've been looking at OCZ Vertex 3 VTX3-25SAT3-480G 2.5" MLC Internal Solid State Drives.

    Specifically, I'm considering replacing my two current spinning drives with, say, three or four of these fast SSD puppies in order to put disk performance through the roof.

    At the moment I have an on-motherboard RAID controller with 3 x SATA2 connectors to spare, though I believe getting a modern dedicated RAID controller with SATA3 ports will be a good idea, as these OCZ drives can outperform SATA2.  I'm not sure which to get though.

    What are your experiences in using multiple SSDs to make a large RAID 0 partition?

    Actual experience would be very helpful here; I'm aware of a lot of information (and misinformation) about using SSDs in RAID.  I welcome everyone's comments, but please refrain from speculation.

    Thanks in advance!

     

    -Noel


    Detailed how-to in my eBook: 
    In development:

    Configure The Windows 7 "To Work" Options
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    Monday, April 09, 2012 4:50 PM

All replies

  • Be aware that TRIM is not supported in RAID mode at this time.  OCZ SSDs feature built-in garbage collection to ensure optimal performance after time, and you can also create an image of your RAID array to be restored following a secure erase of each individual drive.  Secure erasing each SSD and then recreating the array will allow for maximum performance.

    HTH

    Milos

    Monday, April 09, 2012 7:57 PM
  • Thanks, Milos.

    Performance degradation owing to write amplification is not a good plan...  Maybe the two technologies (RAID and SSD) are not quite ready to be married yet...

    I wonder whether one of the OCZ PCIe cards (e.g., the high performance RVD3MIX2-FHPX4-960G MAX IOPS model) might be an even better solution.  It claims all the performance that I could get from 3 or 4 SATA3 drives in a RAID arrangement but without the secondary issues.  It handles TRIM, for example.

     

    -Noel


    Detailed how-to in my eBook:  
    In development:

    Configure The Windows 7 "To Work" Options
    Configure The Windows 8 "To Work" Options

    Monday, April 09, 2012 10:51 PM
  • Hi,

    To use multiple SSDs to make a large RAID 0 partition will not allow for maximum performance. TRIM is not supported in RAID mode when you using SSDs.

    Wednesday, April 11, 2012 7:47 AM
  • Ivan-Liu, you appear to be repeating or rephrasing a lot of very muddled lore to be found out there about SSDs...  Can you please be more specific about why you think maximum performance will be sacrificed, and to what level performance would be sacrificed?  I understand a bit about write amplification.

    What you say doesn't fit with tests such as this one:

    http://thessdreview.com/our-reviews/highpoint-2720sgl-rocketraid-controller-review-amazing-3gbs-recorded-with-8-crucial-c400-ssds/

    -Noel


    Detailed how-to in my eBook:  
    In development:

    Configure The Windows 7 "To Work" Options
    Configure The Windows 8 "To Work" Options

    Wednesday, April 11, 2012 7:52 AM
  • For what it's worth, I've progressed in developing this idea.  In the interest of progressing methodically and learning as I go, I now have two SSDs in RAID0 using a HighPoint 2720SGL PCIe RAID controller.

    This so far is a blazingly fast combination!  Over 1 gigabyte/second throughput and 0.2 millisecond latency.  Next step will be to build a RAID0 with 4 SSDs.

    TRIM is not needed, as the drives are smart enough to clean up internally after sectors are rewritten.

    It's surprising how few people are using these technologies - they really speed up Windows.

     

    -Noel


    Detailed how-to in my eBook:  
    In development:

    Configure The Windows 7 "To Work" Options
    Configure The Windows 8 "To Work" Options

    Sunday, April 22, 2012 3:04 AM